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Parkinson’s Disease: Aetiology & Risk Factors, and Symptoms Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2022

Introduction

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disease that attained its name from James Parkinson’s, a general practitioner based in London, who had partially indicated most of the clinical features of the disease in an Essay entitled: shaking palsy. In his writings, Parkinson’s identifies the disease by the name paralysis agitans, an earlier name it had acquired due to the characteristic features it has of hypokinesia-movement loss and tremor at a rest-movement gain. In the modern definition, Parkinson’s disease is defined as “a progressive neurodegenerative condition resulting from the death of the dopamine-containing cells of the substantia nigra.” (Royal college of physicians, 2006, p. 3)

Parkinsonism is therefore not a specific disease but rather a known condition that is characterized by a set of symptoms. The main symptoms characterizing this condition are muscular stiffness, slow body movement, and trembling of limbs. In summation, Parkinson’s disease can be regarded as a condition that is attributed to six features that include: bradykinesia, loss of postural reflexes, tremor at rest, freezing phenomenon and flexed posture. Not each and every feature must be present for one to be diagnosed with the condition but at least two of the features must be present.

Aetiology & risk factors

A high prevalence rate of Parkinson disease is associated with the male gender. An individual suffering from PD can face long-term disability effects that are attributed to the disease. Neither the cure nor the cause of the disease has been identified. However there are some factors that have been suggested by scientists over the year as the most probable risk factors.

Genetics

Although very few families across the globe have members suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the fact remains that the disease was passed on by the generations before them. According to the research that has been conducted, it was found that family members suffering from the disease have a common mutation in a specific gene. As the mutation occurs it causes a lapse in the production of dopamine, a chemical messenger that instructs muscles on what to do. Mutation of the gene which is attributed to the production of the alpha-synuclein, is one of the studies undertaken in genetics as a risk factor of Parkinson’s disease.

Age

Age is regarded as the main risk factor for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. According to the studies that have been conducted, the prevalence rate is high on the elderly as opposed to any other group in the society. Some scientists suggested that the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is high among the old due to changing brain chemistry among the elderly. Dopamine cell receptors are said to be on the decline as people age (Sharma, and Richman, 2005, p. 56).

Epidemiology of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is regarded as endemic, which indicates that it is regularly attributed to a particular group within society. Across the globe, Parkinson’s disease mainly affects men as opposed to women. The disease can be identified at an age of 60 and its prevalence rate increases as the individual grow old. The disease is not common as 1 in 1000 Americans have it, while 57 in 100,000 Libyans have the disease. The difference in statistics of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the various countries is attributed to the difference in culture, medical care, diagnostic criteria and genetic backgrounds (Rosenbaum, 2006, p. 39).

Signs and symptoms

Tremor

Parkinson’s disease incorporates various types of tremors, among them are: emergent tremor, postural tremor and isometric tremor. Tremors are therefore regarded as the most common symptom. In over 50 percent of the Parkinson’s cases that have been reported, tremor which is regarded as an involuntary movement was the first symptom to be identified.

Bradykinesia/akinesia

This is the symptom where the patient is unable to initiate movement while at the same time the person is slow in executing movement. The symptom is regarded as the progressive as well as disabling motor sign of Parkinson’s condition.

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Despite the numerous questions that remain unanswered regarding the overall management of the Parkinson’s disease, the use of levodopa drug has been described as one of the powerful and suitable drug used in treating the Parkinson’s disease. The early stages of the disease is incorporated with various kinds of treatment, however, as the disease worsens levodopa therapy becomes the choice of treatment.

Prognosis of the condition

According to Mosely Romaine and Samii, the course of the disease varies as no actual predictable pattern that can be used to indicate the severe symptoms or their progress. This mainly attributed to the fact that the disease is a chronic as well as progressive disease. In the advance stages of the chronic disease, prognosis becomes a major challenge, as there isn’t a specific beginning as well as a predictable path of the Parkinson’s disease (Mosely, Romaine and Samii, 2010, p. 249).

Conclusion

Parkinson’s disease is attributed to 80% of the total cases of Parkinsonism. The description was first described by James Parkinson in 1817. The disease is said to entail reduction in muscle power, resting tremor, bradykinesia/Akinesia, cogwheel rigity and postural reflex impairment.

Reference

Mosley, D. A, Romaine, S. D. and Samii, A. (2010).The Encyclopedia of Parkinson’s Disease. NY: Infobase Publishing, Inc.

Rosenbaum, B. R. (2006). Understanding Parkinson’s disease: a personal and professional view. CT: Praeger Publishers.

Royal College of Physicians. (2006). Parkinson’s disease: national clinical guideline for diagnosis and management in primary and secondary care. London: Royal College of Physicians.

Sharma, N. and Richman, E. (2005). Parkinson’s disease and the family: a new guide. MA: The Harvard University Press.

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"Parkinson’s Disease: Aetiology & Risk Factors, and Symptoms." IvyPanda, 9 May 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/parkinsons-disease-aetiology-amp-risk-factors-and-symptoms/.

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IvyPanda. "Parkinson’s Disease: Aetiology & Risk Factors, and Symptoms." May 9, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/parkinsons-disease-aetiology-amp-risk-factors-and-symptoms/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Parkinson’s Disease: Aetiology & Risk Factors, and Symptoms." May 9, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/parkinsons-disease-aetiology-amp-risk-factors-and-symptoms/.

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